COMPANIES in Oxfordshire are stepping up to keep NHS staff fed as they work to treat coronavirus patients.

Coordinating the efforts is Oxford Hospitals Charity which is focused on ensuring staff in the John Radcliffe and the county's other hospitals have access to fresh and healthy meals.

Banbury-based company, Hello Fresh, has confirmed from Monday morning it will be providing hundreds of their meal boxes to staff for free.

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Rebecca Down, from the business, said: "In difficult times, it’s vital to pull together and support our communities, and as a food business, we recognise the importance of helping those in need”

The boxes will be distributed to staff under the most pressure and least able to shop for fresh ingredients, with Hello Fresh committing to up to £100,000 of deliveries.

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The hospitals charity has also partnered with Oxford Fine Dining to provide hot food to staff who can no longer return home and are staying in hotels across Oxfordshire. Manager director Sue Randall said: “When we took the call from Oxford Hospitals Charity, all of our events had come to a standstill and events our kitchens were shut down, and to be honest it was very tough to stay positive.

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“We are a family run events catering company, all of us at Oxford Fine Dining strongly believe in supporting our community, with the Covid-19 effecting every aspect of our lives we knew we needed to do something that made a difference."

The company is initially providing 50 meals a day for staff who need to stay in hotels close to the hospitals.

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They are donating their time for free only charging for ingredients to provide healthy meals that are quick to heat up whenever staff return from their shifts.

The charity is paying for the cost of ingredients, thanks to people donating via

Douglas Graham, chief executive of Oxford Hospitals Charity said: “I am so proud of the way the local community and charity team are working together to create sustainable support in these exceptional times.

"We are trying to be really organised because no one really knows how long things will go on for, but it is vital that NHS staff who are working exceptionally hard are well supported throughout."